Description of Historic Place
The building at 15284 Niagara River Parkway, known as Field House is situated in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The two-storey brick building was designed in the Georgian architectural style and constructed ca. 1800.
The exterior, selected elements of the interior and the scenic character of the property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement. The property is also designated by the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 1462-84). A provincial plaque commemorating Field House was unveiled in 1969.
Located just off of the Niagara River Parkway, Field House is situated west of a small promontory in the river and to the southwest is surrounded by mature chestnut trees and vineyards. The property is located between Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The graves of many members of the Field family, as well as other early Loyalist families who settled in the area, are in a cemetery roughly 200 metres south of the house, which was originally on the property.
Field House is one of the oldest brick houses in Ontario and is associated with the Field family who were United Empire Loyalists. George Field was a farmer from Pennsylvania who served in the Butler's Rangers. When Colonel Butler relocated to Niagara after the American Revolution, the Field family followed and settled along the Niagara River around 1782. After George Field's death, his son Gilbert (1765-1815) petitioned the Land Board for a grant of 100 acres (which he received in 1790) as compensation for the land they lost in the American Revolution. Circa 1800, Field erected his large two-storey brick farm house overlooking the river.
During the War of 1812, Field House was occupied by British troops. It was subjected to battery fire from invading American troops during the Battle of Queenston Heights, who eventually captured it and used it as a barracks and hospital following the capture of Fort George in May of 1813. The Field family later sought and received restitution for damages incurred during the war. The property remained in the Field family until 1925, after which there were various occupants, until it was bought by Judge Robert J. Cudney in 1961. A 19th century cistern is located at the rear of the house and still connects to the basement. Edwardian Revival style landscaping was added in the late 1960s. It was acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1968, restored and sold to private owners in 1980, subject to a protective conservation easement.
Field House is an good example of an early Ontario home in the Georgian architectural style. The two-storey red brick house with courses of brick laid in Flemish bond is five bays wide, with a centre hall plan. The low gable roof, clad in cedar shingles, is punctuated by two large chimneys, one at each gable end. The cornice soffit was reconstructed in period style and is distinguished with dentil mouldings and eave returns at the gable ends. The front door has six-panels and the flanking windows, placed at the middle level of the door, each have six panes. A pediment over the door was added during renovations. Discolouration on the bricks indicate that a similar looking verandah was originally there. The pediment has a broken horizontal cornice connected by an arch and keystone over the door. Two pairs of engaged pilasters flank each side of the door with two more columnettes supporting the pediment. The house rests on a coursed rubble foundation. Double sash (12/12) windows have been reconstructed.
The interior has four rooms on each floor with a central hall and staircase. Interior features include wood baseboards, door frames, beaded mouldings, six-paneled doors, fireplaces and mantels, a bake-oven, wood ceiling beams and wide plank flooring.
Source: OHT Files
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Field House include its:
- proximity to the Niagara River
- location among mature chestnut trees near orchards, wineries and other farms
- proximity to a cemetery with the graves of the Field Family and other Loyalist families
- 19th century cistern located at the rear of the house
- original brick construction
- typical design associated with the United Empire Loyalists
- centre hall, five bay two-storey façade
- Flemish bond brickwork
- coursed rubble foundation
- brick chimneys at each gable end
- period style modern pediment over the door with two sets of columnettes and two sets of engaged pilasters
- six-paneled front door with flanking six paned windows
- cedar shingle roof
- period reconstruction dentil moulding of the soffit with return eaves at each gable end
- Georgian revival period mantle pieces
- bake-oven in the original kitchen
- six-paneled interior doors
- wide plank flooring
- wood door frames and baseboards with beaded moulding
- wood chair rails
- recreated period balustrade of the central hall staircase